Anime / Tiger Mask W

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Who is the ultimate tiger? Me, or you?

Two young pro wrestlers, Naoto Azuma and Takuma Fujii, were trainees at a small pro wrestling organization called Zipang, lead by Daisuke Fujii, Takuma's father. It's big break came when the group got a deal for a tournament with the American branch of the GWM - Global Wrestling Monopoly, major force in the world of pro wrestling. But their dreams and hopes soon turned into nightmares, as the GWM's wrestlers weren't there just to win - they were there to crush them into oblivion. Nowhere was that more apparent than during the final match, where Daisuke got beaten to the point of being crippled by Yellow Devil - GWM's Pacific Champion. With Zipang getting dissolved after the match, all Naoto and Takuma were left with was the desire for revenge!

After the devastating match, Naoto was approached by Kentaro Takaoka, who asked him if he truly wants to become strong enough to defeat the Yellow Devil. He told him about the Tiger's Den - the secret organization behind the GWM. Their modus operandi is to put young people through a Training from Hell to become powerful wrestlers that go on to dominate the wrestling rings all around the planet... on the condition that they give half of their earnings back to the organization. It once controlled the pro wrestling industry from the shadows, until Naoto Date, one of their strongest wrestlers, betrayed them in order to provide for poor children. In retaliation, the Tiger's Den sent hitmen after him, in and outside of the ring. Date took a new masked identity and, through countless battles, was able to bring the organization down! But thought destroyed, the Tiger's Den has returned. In order to stop them, Takaoka makes Naoto an offer - he will put him through training that puts the Den's regiment to shame. Once he completes it, he will gain not only the strength to oppose the Tiger's Den, but will also inherit the spirit of Naoto Date - the will of Tiger Mask!

But what Naoto doesn't know is what path his best friend Takuma took. He was approached by Mister X, one of the higher ups of the Tiger's Den, and the man responsible for his father condition, the Yellow Devil! They make him an offer to join the Tiger's Den, and Takuma agrees. But he doesn't plan to play along with the group's power plays. He aims to not only bring down Yellow Devil, but to also destroy the Tiger's Den from within! After successfully passing their training, he is given a new wrestling identity - Tiger the Dark.

Two young men, both went through hell in order to become tigers. But who's fangs and claws are the strongest? The tiger's roar fills the ring once again!

Tiger Mask W is an wrestling Anime series and a sequel to the original Tiger Mask from the 70's. It's produced by Toei Animation. It premiered October 1st, during the Fall 2016 Anime season. It is availablenote  for streaming on Crunchyroll here. It will run for 39 episodes.

This show provides the examples of:

  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Mr. Question displays this ability, which Fukuwara Mask credits to yoga mastery. Blackout, too, due to being a robot.
  • Action Girl: Every single diva. Haruna gets extra points because she trained herself without any help due to her mother's opposition to her becoming a wrestler.
  • A.I. is a Crapshoot: After being set on fire, Blackout attacks everyone in sight including it's creator and the Tiger's Den's wealthy clients.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Ms.X,Haruna,Queen Elizabeth
  • Art Shift: Mr. X is drawn in a way to specifically mimic the original anime's, giving him a bit of an Uncanny Valley effect.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Subverted with Mr. X. Despite meeting his end at the end of the original anime, Mr. X appear here no worse for the wear. But turns out that he is a Legacy Character too.
    • Ricardo pulls this in episode 18 which is pretty surprising seeing as how he was last seen falling off a cliff. He is killed by Red Death Mask in the very next episode
  • Badass Adorable: Haruna as Spring Tiger.
  • Badass Cape: Naoto inherits this along with the Tiger Mask. Like the original, he drops it once he enters the ring.
  • Badass Grandpa: Mr. Question unmasks to reveal a wrinkled face and white hair. Despite this, he claims he is not the original Mr. Question.
  • Bears are Bad News: Naoto was often assaulted by them while he trained at Mt. Fuji, much to the consternation of the Takaokas. Not because he would himself in danger, but because they were so over bear stew.
  • Benevolent Boss: Surprisingly enough, Miss X is this to her wrestlers.
  • Big Eater: Naoto, Haruna, and especially Mikada, who is famous for his sweet tooth.
  • Butt Monkey: Ryu Wakamatsu would probably be a jobber if it wasn't for this setting. As it is, he falls squarely into this trope.
  • Blood Upgrade: In his debut episode, Fukuwara Mask gets his nose broken in a match, soaking his mask in blood. He then starts to fight to win rather than entertain, and briefly gets the better of Tiger Mask.
  • Charlie Brown from Outta Town: This is to be expected from a series full of masked wrestlers, but during the Wrestle Max Masked World Tournament, half the wrestlers are ones we've previously seen wrestling unmasked, including Hiroshi Tanahashi of all people.
    • GWM even pulls this with Billy the Kidman, a previous background wrestler, taking the Yellow Devil mantle. For what reason, whether Legacy Character applies or not, is still unknown.
    • Fukuwara Mask is revealed to be former GWM wrestler Keiji Tanaka.
  • The Comically Serious: Naoto.
  • Composite Character: Tiger Mask's style is a mix of Naoto Date's (agile power wrestler) and his various real life counterparts (a number of moves), especially Satoru Sayama.
  • Cross Through: As part of the show's promotion, Kota Ibushi currently wrestles as the real-life Tiger Mask W for certain New Japan shows. Some of his more high profile matches involved a showing against Tiger The Dark (a masked ACH) at Wrestle Kingdom 11, a tag match with Tiger Mask IV against the real Kazuchika Okada and his manager Gedo, and a one-on-one match against Okada again on the champion's request. For obvious reasons, Ibushi is not acknowledged as the man behind the mask.
  • Curbstomp Battle:
    • Tiger Mask's debut against Odin consists of him letting Odin get some hits in...then effortlessly stomping him. Odin technically wins by ring out, but no one thinks he actually won.
    • Queen and Payne don't even pretend that Candy Pair have a chance for the sake of drama during their match.
    • Spring Tiger vs. Miss X. Spring Tiger very easily defeats Miss X.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 18 focuses on Haruna becoming Spring Tiger.
  • Death Course: Tiger's Den trainees are required to run this to even think about being accepted.
  • The Dreaded: The Red Death Mask, just like his predecessor.
    • The original Tiger Mask is this to the Tiger's Den.
    • Tiger the Third. Especially to Ken, as he recognizes the costume worn by the man who crippled him.
  • Dumb Muscle: The Saboten stands out here: he's large and muscular even by wrestling standards, and repeatedly shows himself to be very dim during his attempts to ambush Tiger Mask before their match.
  • Dying Town: Fukuwara Mask's hometown, where the shops are shuttered in the middle of the day. He comes up with a Zany Scheme to bring in some business.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The nasty immoral heels of GWM get letters from home while imprisoned. Odin's reveals that he's seen as a hero in his pastoral hometown.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Miss X is noticeably less evil than Mister X, and is furious when the gatekeeper for Hell in the Hole is revealed to be a combat robot-and rather happy when it's taken down.
  • Evil Counterpart: Technically, Tiger Mask is the good counterpart to Tiger the Dark, since the latter was introduced earlier. However Tiger the Dark is effectively the evil counterpart in some ways to the original Tiger Mask. Tiger the Dark and Tiger Mask in the show seem to have a case of Blue and Orange Morality going on as both are out for revenge, but Tiger the Dark is more willing to take the route of the heel to get it.
  • Evil Is Petty: In Episode 17 The Bullet Club goes around town buying all the deserts just to ruin Togi Makabe's day.
  • Expressive Mask: Downplayed. The jaws of the tiger masks are always roaring, but the eyeholes and eyebrows show expression, particularly rage or fear. Presumably, the former is because we're seeing Naoto's and Takuma's actual eyes.
  • Facepalm Of Doom: Red Death Mask finishes opponents with the Iron Claw, or failing that a leaping Iron Claw Slam called the Red Death Drop. His hands are so large and strong that he easily draws a great amount of blood with the clawhold, even on masked opponents.
  • Fireball Eyeballs: Played with in episode 11. Tiger Mask is staring into a fire at the time, but it has the same connotation of determination and Hot-Blooded-ness
  • Finishing Move: As is expected of a wrestling anime, these are all over the place. It becomes a plot point when Tiger Mask is tasked with creating his own, the same way the original was forced to.
    • Justified by the fact that many wrestling moves are studied and well-known, and so creating your own unique move allows you to climb the next rung on the Lensman Arms Race.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Global Wrestling Monopoly may be one to the real-life WWE. May also be a counterpart Shout-Out to WCW, which was more willing to work with Japanese promotions than WWE was for much of the 80s and 90s.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Tiger Mask often against this type, mostly because the Tiger's Den is specifically sending their best pros from abroad at him in order end the threat he presents as quickly as possible. Most of whom are, or at appear to be, American in origin. Tiger the Dark's real name and identity are unknown outside the higherups of Tiger's Den, so many Japanese fans probably assume him to be this as well.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Tetsuya Naito and his stable Los Ingobernables de Japon have this dynamic with the rest of NJPW, as they are heels and Jerks With Hearts of Gold.
  • The Giant: Bigfoot, a 500+ pound behemoth who is sicced on Tiger Mask in episode 15. Miss X claims he's the biggest masked man on the planet. Tiger Mask is taken aback at his mat wrestling skill and stamina, though, having expected Bigfoot to be clumsy and easily-tired due to his size.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The last opponent Takuma and Kevin face in episode 20 is "Blackout" an eight foot tall military Killer Robot that looks like Roman Reigns.
  • Heel–Face Turn: At some point during the first episode Time Skip, GWM wrestler Keiji Tanaka had one and became Fukuwara Mask.
  • Heroic Second Wind: During the match with Red Death Mask in episode 4, Tiger Mask is beaten nearly to death, his mask soaked in his own blood. Just when his opponent was about to land the finishing blow, Haruna called out to him. The faces of the people that helped him get this far go through his mind, and that was enough for Tiger Mask to regain his strength and turn the tables on the Red Death Mask.
  • Irony: Technically, both Naoto and Takuma were scouted by a Yellow Devil in order to train them to the point they can exact their revenge.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Many times:
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tetsuya Naito in episode 22. He and Evil volunteer to the drive the ring to Fukawara Mask's indy show and agree to wrestle in the main event on short notice despite being rude to everyone and cheating throughout the match. He even acts the part of a Graceful Loser and lets Fukawara Mask enjoy his victory.
  • Legacy Character: Practically every masked wrestler. Naoto, as the new Tiger Mask, must face against the wrestlers who inherited the masked identities of his predecessor's foes.
    • Decomposite Character: Tiger Mask and Tiger the Dark are essentially this to the original Tiger Mask. Tiger the Dark is basically Tiger Mask during his time as a full Heel for the Tiger's Den while Tiger Mask is him post Heel–Face Turn.
  • Let X Be the Unknown: Ms. X and, of course, Mr. X.
  • Mama's Boy: The Saboten dotes on his mother (who is also his promoter) and attempts to follow her orders to the best of his limited ability.
  • The Mole: Takuma's purpose in the Tiger's Den as Tiger The Dark: his sole purpose is to become strong enough to be able to defeat Yellow Devil, himself a member of the Tiger's Den.
    • May have been invoked by the current Yellow Devil, as he flat out told him to join Tiger's Den simply so that Takuma would be able to fight him. Tiger's Den may in fact be prepared for an eventual attempt to betray them. Or even planned it from the start. Or at least Yellow Devil might have.
  • Ms. Vice Girl: Haruna is noticeably Greedy, to the point of setting Tiger Mask up for matches without consulting him first, almost assaulting Miss X when she's told that GWM doesn't allow merchandise sales at their Max Dome other than their own, and having a minor Heroic B.S.O.D. when Tiger Mask gave to charity the 100,000 dollars won in GWM's World Masked Tournament. Still, she's a nice person, and has even been shown overcoming her greed.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Fukuwara Mask stands in for Japanese indie comedy wrestler Kikutaro (or rather, Kikutaro's previous identity, Ebessan). Gorilla Jeet Singh is a knockoff version of the famed-in-Japan heel Tiger Jeet Singh. Queen Elizabeth and Payne Fox are clearly Charlotte and Becky Lynch, respectively.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Fukuwara Mask exudes a clownish look and mannerism that hides both in-ring intelligence and legitimate strength.
  • Oh, Crap!: This is all written on Ms. X's face when the new Tiger Mask makes his debut.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: When Naoto is attacked by a bear, he promptly piledrives it to break its neck while revealing he's 'sick of bear'. Apparently he means this literally: this is such a regular occurence that the Takaokas are sick of bear soup.
  • Original Generation: The real New Japan Pro Wrestling roster is well-represented, but there's still a handful of wrestlers created for the show, such as Fukuwara Mask, Ryu Wakamatsu, and Kaioh Mikasa.
  • Pragmatic Villain: Miss X is a villain, but is willing to pay a lot for Tiger Mask's partecipation in GWM's fights... Because he's a cash cow. Also, part of her interest with her wrestlers' wellbeing comes from the same interested source.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: As in the original series, there is no faking or kayfabe involved in the matches, and almost everyone has the same personality in and out of the ring. Lampshaded when an idol singer duo assumes the gibberish-speaking Foreign Wrestling Heel they met is actually a normal person offstage. Nope, he's a gibberish-speaking loonie in real life too.
  • Real Person Cameo: Similar to its predecessor, several real-life New Japan Pro Wrestling stars are featured, including Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, and Yuji Nagata among others.
    • Not Quite Starring: Of the real NJPW wrestlers depicted on the show, only Togi Makabe (a fairly minor character) provides his own voice.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: When Bosman loses to Tiger the Dark twice in a row, the former champion is sent down to the "local markets".
    • The Bus Came Back: As a former champion, Bosman is allowed to return to the major leagues for the War Games event. And promptly targets Tiger the dark again.
  • Reflective Eyes: combined with Fireball Eyeballs;, when Tiger mask has the inspiration for his signature move.
  • Run the Gauntlet: Tiger the Dark is forced to do this when several GWM wrestlers attempt to teach him a lesson as a rookie during a Battle Royale match, where it's implied he's the only one ever targeted.
  • Secret Identity: Naoto's identity as Tiger Mask is known only to Kentaro Takaoka and his niece, Haruna. Similiarly, Takuma's identity as Tiger the Dark is only know to the Tiger's Den's higher ups and fellow wrestlers.
  • Superior Successor: While Naoto himself still hasn't reach the origional at his peak, this applies to most of the Legacy characters he faces.
    • In particular, Black Python takes four full suplexes to defeat, while the new Mr. Question is immune to submission holds, as opposed to the original who was defeated by a boston crab.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Tiger Mask's in-universe entrance theme is the series' opening.
  • Too Dumb to Live: During Hell in the Hole, Ricardo assists Red Death Mask in a kill and lets him grab the weapon to entice him in an alliance. Red Death Mask promptly kills him.
    • Ricardo barely Subverted it in the first episode, when he tried to throw Takuma down a cliff fully knowing how dangerous he was and Takuma, who hadn't cared for him until that moment, threw Ricardo down, but he survived.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Haruna goes from being Tiger Mask's supporter to being a wrestler herself by the name Spring Tiger. She even curbstomps Miss X!
  • Training from Hell: Both Naoto and Takuma subjected themselves to this kind of work out.
  • Villains Out Shopping: During the "Don't Be a Softy!" episode, Makabe and our heroes run into Miss X's personal assistant and Makabe briefly suspects GWM of being behind the sold-out sweets. Nope, she's just buying a nice dessert for her stressed-out boss.
    • Ealier, Takuma takes time before a promotion to visit Daisuke in the hospital.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Episode 3 details how both Naota and Takuma started their paths on to becoming Tiger Mask and Tiger the Dark, respectively.
  • World's Strongest Man: Bigfoot is said to be the largest and strongest masked wrestler in the world.
  • Wide Eyesand Shrunken Irises: A common expression on both tigers, particularly when they're about to be hit by a move they can't no-sell.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Tiger's Den hasn't changed much from the original series, and still hangs this over the head of those who fail to win certain matches.
    • Failed the Tiger's Den? Enjoy being the training dummy to test their new moves on, without a break!
    • Every GWM wrestler who lost to Tiger Mask (excepting Bigfoot, but including Odin) is entered into Hell in the Hole.

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